Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera and several players addressed the media after their 20-17 win over the New England Patriots. Check out some of the highlights from their press conferences.
Q: How about that? What are your thoughts after getting that one done?
RR: Well, you know, it was a hard-fought game. It really was. I mean, it went back and forth. We had opportunities. We missed some opportunities. You know, one thing, we've got to take better care of the football. Defensively, we can't give up an explosive like we did, but for the most part, I thought the guys came out, competed, played hard, did good things. Did things that they're capable of and showed what we can do.
Q: You've talked a lot in recent weeks about Sam's [Howell] promise and what that can mean for this organization. How did he add to that belief today?
RR: Well, with the exception of the interception in the first half, I thought he played the type of game we believe he is capable of. He made some really good decisions, some smart things. I mean, there's some things he's going to want to have back once he gets a chance to look at the tape and we get a chance to really evaluate it. You know, again, we've got to make sure that we put those guys in position to have the success that we can have, and, again, we're still growing and developing with the guy, but he did a great job for us and led us to the victory.
Q: Ron, the two interceptions, his and then the one at the end, what did you see with each of those?
RR: With his, he tried to force it. I mean, that play calls for – it's a quick read. He tries to extend it a little too much and then he saw Jahan [Dotson] coming late, and at that point, just throw it into the endzone. I mean throw it just completely out of the endzone and that was disappointing. He knows better, and he was really disappointed in himself at halftime. But, he got over it quickly and came out and, you know, regrouped and played well in the second half and did the things that, like I said, we believe he can.
Q: And the last interception, Quan's?
RR: Oh, it was a really nice play. Defensively, again, he's lurking there. He's a guy that's in position that if something does get tipped that hopefully he can come up with it, and he did.
Q: I know it seems like I ask you this every week. What did they say to you about KJ's roughing the passer?
RR: They thought it was full bodyweight, um, you know, and, again, we, you know.
Q: Fair enough. Coach, your thoughts on James Smith-Williams and Casey Toohill?
RR: I thought they went out and played with a lot of energy. You know, they did some good things, but there's some things that, obviously, they're going to have to clean up and do better with. You know, I thought the guys we tried to rotate in did some nice things. I thought KJ [Henry] had a nice rush. Unfortunately, it got called, but, again, these guys are going to work the form. They're young guys. They're going to have to get opportunities, and that's what they're getting right now.
Q: How did you feel about your play out there? And just I know we ask this every day, every week, but just your overall growth with each game.
SH: Yeah, you know, I thought it was all right. I thought I did some good things, made some good plays. I just got to find a way to play better at certain times, and obviously the interception was a big play for us, a chance for us to really get the momentum going into halftime. And that's probably one of the worst plays I've ever made in my football career. So definitely just got to not do that in that situation. But, yeah, I thought I did some good plays. A lot of guys stepped up and made some big plays down the field. You know, the O-line did a good job all day long. We ran the ball well. We protected well. They brought some blitzes, some cover zeros. We got to some checks and managed that pretty well, so I thought as a whole we did a lot of really good things. We just got to find a way to finish better and when we have a chance in the fourth quarter to win the game, we've got to take advantage of that and not put our defense in so many opportunities. We gave the ball back to them probably three times, you know, and our defense came up with a stop every single time so just credit to them and it was a great team win.
Q: So for you, after a game like this, how much are you thinking about the really good throws you had versus that one interception?
SH: Yeah, I mean, obviously I hate that that play happened, but I'm not going to let that happen again and I think my teammates know that and I told them that, so I'm just going to try to continue to build on the good things that we did.
*Q: Since Nicki kept bringing it up, what did happen on that interception? *
SH: Dang, John. (Laughter) I tried to talk about it early so y'all would just stop asking me about it. But, no, it was just obviously in a situation like that, you've got to try to throw the ball away, and obviously I was on the perimeter and it was a rollout pass and a guy kind of triggered and tried to come hit me late and so I was trying to find an incompletion and I just didn't get the ball out-of-bounds.
Q: What about the touchdown pass to Jahan Dotson? Just walk us through that one and how that one came through?
SH: Yeah, it was – they were trying to bring cover zero and for most of the game, our cover zero stuff was getting to some quick screens and stuff like that, so I knew we'd have an opportunity versus cover zero to get into max protection and take a shot down the field, and Jahan did a good job beating his guy. We know it's going to be one-on-one. In cover zero, there's nobody behind him, so I just tried to throw it out there and let him go get it. He did.
Q: Over the last couple of games, how much do you feel like you're getting in sync with the protection and how does that help you when you're in the pocket and your game overall?
SH: Yeah, I think we're doing a really good job and I think that o-line unit is really starting to come together. They put together two really good games and we've just got to continue to grow and they're doing a good job. Tyler [Larsen] came in and is doing a really good job and he's doing a good job with making the right calls and me and him being on the same page and those guys are fighting. That's all we can ask from them, is continue to fight and as we continue to grow as an offense, their job will get easier. As we run the ball better, as we continue to get the ball out fast and stuff like that, as I continue to grow and develop, it will only help them, but, you know, we're doing some good things and we just got to try to continue and build on it and let it translate to more points.
Check out the best photos of the Washington Commanders' Week 9 matchup with the New England Patriots. (photos by Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders)
(On the offense)
"As an offense we have to continue to figure out how to be better in 'got-to-have' situations. As an offense we like to finish with the ball in our hands. We don't want to have to have our defense back out there. When we get in the red zone we have to score touchdowns. As we progress, we've got to continue to build on what we did well, but also figure out how to be better in those critical areas."
(On Sam Howell)
"I think he's doing a great job getting the ball out of his hands, he's using his legs. I feel like it's giving the defense another element of his game that they have to prepare for. I think his ball placement has been really good. You can just tell he is continuing to get comfortable in this offense. He's getting comfortable in the looks that he's getting, and you can tell he's getting very decisive in his choices out there."
(On Howell's 23-yard run)
"That was just a hell of a play by him honestly to get that first down. We tried to block downfield. I think we did a great job on the scramble drill today. We had guys getting open down the field and he does a great job of keeping his eyes down the field, which is one of the better attributes that he's developed over the season. When you have to account for a guy who can throw the ball down the field and get first downs using his legs, it puts a lot of pressure on the defense."
(On the receivers)
"I think we all had a hand in it, from JC [Jamison Crowder] to Pringle, myself and Jahan [Dotson], even Dyami [Brown] came in and stepped up. We had some over the first half that if we made those plays it would put more pressure on their defense. We've got to find ways to make those plays."
(On his touchdown)
"It was a big play, we needed it. Sam [Howell] did a great job. He saw cover zero. We've been working on it all week. He gave me a chance to make a play for the team. I was able to capitalize."
(On losing teammates at the trade deadline)
"It's been tough, obviously, losing two brothers that we love so much, that we miss a lot. We had to come out and work this week. It's a business. It's next man up. You have to go and take care of what is supposed to be taken care of on Sundays and that's what we did today. It was a big win for us."
(On Sam Howell)
"He does it all. He makes big plays when we need them the most. That long third-down conversion run, that was big for us, we needed that. The big time throws he makes, he does it all for us. We're super happy to have a guy like him at quarterback in our offense."
(On the receivers)
"We know in this room, receiver-wise, that down the stretch we are going to be the ones who need to make the plays for this team to get us going and get us over that hump to victory. Guys just made plays all day."
(On the win)
"Any win is a good win. To come in and win on the road is big. It's important as a team. We lost a tough one last week. To come into Foxborough and get the win, it's huge. We just take them one game and one day at a time. Any win is a good win."
(On Sam Howell's third down run)
"It was great, for sure it was great. Sam is a competitor. He gives us a chance to win every week. That was huge. You see guys making plays like that, you want to follow suit and get onboard. Go out there and give it your all."
Emmanuel Forbes Jr.
(On working his way back after being benched)
"That was new. Something I had to learn and grow from it."
(On what he learned from it)
"Honestly, not taking it personal. Going to work every day to work and get better at my craft."
(On staying locked in)
"It's not hard. Go out there and play football. Know the situation is two minutes. Know what they are trying to run and what they are trying to accomplish."
(On if he felt this would be a big week)
"I go into every game thinking I'm going to make plays and do my job. It wasn't anything different, I went and did my job."
(On Sam Howell's leadership)
"He's got that leadership in him. He's more comfortable bringing it out on the football field once we crossed that line."
(On when he sees that leadership in action)
"As soon as the game starts. He's got that confidence once he comes into the huddle. He's not the most vocal guy. You can feel it once he come into the huddle."
(On the importance of this victory)
"It's huge. Especially being 3-6, now we're 4-5. That sounds a lot better than 3-6. Obviously, we want to build on this. Next week we got a good opponent on the west coast. We have to ride this win and keep going."
(On the team's confidence in Sam Howell when the team needs a score)
"We're confident. We've got the weapons in the huddle. We got Sam under center. We just got to keep pushing, we know he's going to do it."
(On the play of the defense)
"We just played team ball. We all just played together. We relied on one another. Everybody played with good energy. We did pretty good on third down. Ultimately making big plays when we needed them and winning situational football. We just played tight coverage and made some plays. We keep playing with confidence and keep competing. Having young guys make plays on the field raised our energy."
(On Sam Howell's third down run)
"That was big. That set the tone and the energy for the offense. Sam has (rallied us) all year and that is what we rely on him to do. It was definitely a big play for our team."
(On his field goals)
"We hit the field goal [to get ahead 20-17] with about ten minutes left, so it was obviously a go-ahead field goal, but that was not really a game winner. Our defense and our special teams helped us out. It felt good to get the ball through the uprights when we had to. That game gets chalked up to our defense, that's for sure. They took care of the end of that game."
(On Sam Howell's third down scramble)
"We were looking at possibly punting. He got hit at the 40 and I honestly thought he was going to go down there. I was getting ready to jog out there for the field goal. I've seen him since college, it's not surprising."